Wine of the Week: 2010 Carlisle Mourvedre Bedrock Vineyard

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Carlisle Mourvedre Bedrock Vineyard.

The Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera Ranch, Rossi Ranch Vineyard, Saitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society.

The Wine

From Carlisle…From vines planted in 1888, exceptional fruit and simple winemaking have combined to create this age-worthy old-vine Mourvedre.  Aged in French oak, 21% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 133 cases produced.  SRP – $40

2010 Carlisle Mourvedre Bedrock Vineyard

2010 Carlisle Mourvedre Bedrock Vineyard

My tasting notes follow:

Dark nearly opaque ruby color with complex roast meat, dark fruits, violet, spice and oak aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied with wonderful depth and concentration, along with very good acidity, velvety texture and dusty tannins.   It shows flavors of blueberry, blackberry, plum, espresso, cacao and sweetened orange rind. Long finish. 14.8% alcohol 

Rating: A- : Fantastic example of what a 100% Mourvedre can be.  It’s a shame it’s not produced more as a 100% varietal bottling (It’s hard to grow, and does best with low yields…so it’s about $$$).  This is a very age-worthy wine I’d love to try again in another 10 years.  Wish I had more!

Pair with: Beef Short Ribs, or Vegan Portobello Stroganoff, or Portobello Mushroom Lasagna.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

Yes, it’s still that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season (which is year-round in my book; granted most folks don’t see it that way)!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Domaine de la Modorée La Dame Rousse Tavel Rosé.

The Winery

Domaine de la Mordorée is a relatively new winery in Chateauneuf-de-Pape.  It was founded in 1986 by brothers Fabrice and Christophe Delorme with a total of 5 hectares of vines.  By 1989, the industrious brothers had expanded the holdings of Domaine de la Mordoree to 60 hectares located in 8 different regions in the Southern Rhone valley.  The Domaine is ideally located at the crossroads of Provence and Languedoc. And they have a reputation for producing some great wine from their vineyard across the Rhone Valley including Châteauneuf du Pape, Lirac, andTavel.  The winery takes its name from a wild game bird, known as a woodcock, hence the logo on the wine bottle’s label.

Christophe Delorme’s objective as a winemaker is to be unintrusive and maintain total respect for his terroir and the fruit it produces. His dream is to achieve a perfect balance between concentration, terroir and flavors. Delorme seems to be moving in the direction of biodynamic farming. He represents the best of an enlightened approach to winemaking that has one foot in the traditions of the past and one in the future.
- Robert Parker, The World’s Greatest Wine Estates

Domaine de la Mordoree practices sustainable, organic farming of their vineyards in all their locations including Chateauneuf du Pape, Lirac, Tavel and Cotes du Rhone. They are working on earning the rights to be certified agriculture biologique. They have old vines. On their property in the rocky terroir of La Crau, their plantings are over 100 years of age.  The wines are aged in a combination of enamel coated, temperature, stainless steel tanks and small oak barrels.

 The Wine

Sad, but true, this was only my second rosé from France this summer (the other was from Provence)!  Candidly, with the popularity of dry rosé on the rise, I’m finding Cali producers have upped their game.  On top of that,  2012 was a great vintage, and I think that’s manifest in the across the board quality of California rosés  I’ve enjoyed this Summer!

Having said that, one the whole, no one does rosé better than the French.  The two most renowned areas for rosé production in France are Provence and Tavel.

This wine is from Tavel, an appellation in the southern Rhone Valley that specializes in dry rosé wines.  Tavel is a little pocket in the Côtes du Rhône about 20 minutes northeast of the city of Avignon.  Tavel has a reputation for producing rosé that is fruity and fun, As opposed to Provence (in particular Bandol) which has a reputation for producing more serious rosé.

The vineyards that produced this wine average 40 years in age.  The grapes are hand-harvested.  It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Bourboulenc, 5% Clairette. 14.5% abv.  SRP is $25

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

2012 Domaine de la Mordorée Rosé La Dame Rousse

My tasting note follows:

Strawberry red color with a wonderful orange hue with fresh wild strawberry, cherry citrus, and a hint of fresh herbs aromas. On the palate, it medium-full bodied and sophisticated with a creamy mouth feel, lively acidity, and intense strawberry, cherry spice and blood orange flavors. Long spicy finish. 

Rating:  A-This wine manages to walk the line between serious and “fun” just fine!

Pair with: This is an ideal picnic wine.  It’s a great partner for food, and has the body to go with a variety of foods.  Pair with grilled meat, deli sandwiches, light pasta dishes, pizza.  For a real treat pair with Consommé of mussels and prawns in Tavel Sauce.

>>Find this wine<<

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!

Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All right

Drink Pink! Rosé of the Week; 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a   series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

 The Wine

Tablas Creek (“TCV”) is no newcomer to Rosé.  Unlike many relative newcomers who have hopped aboard the dry Rosé bandwagon as of late, TCV has been producing a Rosé since 1999. And that’s no surprise given their association with Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone region in France.

Like most rosé wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the bright strawberry fruit and fresh acidity of Grenache, with additions of darker fruit, structure and spice from Mourvèdre and Counoise.

What is new for 2012 is that TCV decided to produce two Rosés.  This bottling was added to their excellent value-oriented Patelin de Tablas line, which also also includes the Patelin de Tablas Blanc, based on Grenache Blanc, and Patelin de Tablas, based on Syrah.

The other Rosé is 2012 Dianthus.  While this Rosé is dominated by Grenache, the Dianthus is dominated by Mourvedre.  I’m looking forward to giving that one a try too!

Drink Pink...2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Copper pink color with enticing strawberry, stone-fruit,and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, and fresh. It’s dry on entry, but closer to off-dry on the back palate with strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. Medium + finish. Blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise. 14% Alcohol | $20 SRP| 1250 cases produced

Rating:  B+

This is a charming Rosé that is incredibly flexible partner at the table.  Unlike many Rosés, which are great with salads or lighter fare, this one can stand up to heartier fare. TCV recommends it with Crisp Crab Risotto.  Sounds like a winner to me!

Sample purchased for review 

Related posts:

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

2013 Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting- The Best of Rhone Rosés

I attended, as media guest, the 16th annual “Celebration of American Rhone Wines” in San Francisco, at Fort Mason Center last weekend.  Rhone Rangers is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Rhone varietal wines produced in the U.S.

The two-day event featured a Winemaker Dinner on Friday catered by The Girl and The Fig. The dinner also featured the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Randall Grahm, the “Original Rhone Deranger”,and founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard.  On Saturday was the Grand Tasting and Seminars.  The Grand Tasting was a  great opportunity to taste about 500 of the best American Rhone wines from close to 100 Rhone Rangers member wineries (For a list of participating wineries-click here).

RR Fort Mason Shot

If there ever was a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this. After my experience at last years Rhone Rangers SF Tasting, I wanted to narrow my focus a bit.  I decided to limit my tasting to Rosé!

I adore Rosé, and those made from Rhone grape varieties are my favorite! Besides it would give me a chance to get an early start on the first Rosé from the fabulous 2012 vintage.  When I looked at the mostly excellent event program, there were 30 wineries listed under “Rosé”.

Well the early start turned out to be a mixed bag. That’s because a few wineries who’d intended to have their Rosé ready, decided they weren’t ready for primetime.  Likewise,  a couple of my perennial favorite Rosé producers Bonny Doon, and Quivira, Rosé was not yet bottled ( one producer shared with me that they’d bottled their wine two days before the event, and another pour his Rosé from a sample bottle). I think the unofficial start of Rosé season is April.  Nonetheless I tasted some great wines and if the quality of the wines I tasted is any indication, 2012 should be a great season for Rosé!

On to the wines I sniffed, sipped and  (mostly) spit!

2012-04-24-RoseWines

The many shades of Rosé…Photo Credit: goo.gl/iKJXT

My recommendations and complete tasting notes follow (in alphabetic order within each category):

Highly Recommend (90+ pts)

Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting: Best of the Rhone Rosés

Sebastian Donoso; Winemaker for Campovida

  • 2012 Campovida Grenache Trails End - California, North Coast, Mendocino County - Coral color with lifted red fruit, citrus, spice and rose petal aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, dry and fresh with cherry, raspberry, melon, citrus and spice flavors. Long finish (91 pts.) – $34
  • 2012 Curtis Heritage Rosé - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Light pink color with pretty cherry, sweet citrus, and hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry with medium acidity. It shows slightly tart raspberry, citrus, mineral and spice flavors. Medium plus finish. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault (90 pts.) – $23
  • 2012 Lagier Meredith Syrah Rosé - California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium pink color with intriguing, aromatic red berry, violet, and spice aromas. On the palate, it between dry and off-dry, and medium-bodied with great acidity. It shows black cherry, black raspberry, and cantaloupe flavors. Long finish. Blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Mondeuse. (92 pts.) – $20
  • 2012 L’Aventure Estate Rosé - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Salmon color with aromatic raspberry, citrus, melon, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, dry, and fresh with a great mouth feel. It shows raspberry, tangerine, melon flavors underscored with an appealing mineral undertone. Long finish. (92 pts.) – $25
margerum rose

Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company

  • 2012 Margerum Grenache Riviera - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Salmon pink color with appealing aromatic red berry, melon, and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, fresh, and elegant with raspberry, strawberry, melon and spice flavors. Long finish. (91 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Dianthus - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Cranberry red color with tight red fruit, and dried rose aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with wonderful acidity, and cherry, red plum, and spiced watermelon, and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish. Blend of 60% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 15% Counoise (90 pts.) – $27
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Pink color with enticing strawberry, stone-fruit,and spice aromas. On the palate, it medium-bodied, fresh and smooth with a great mouthfeel. It’s dry on entry, but closer to off-dry on the back palate with strawberry, watermelon, spice and mineral flavors. Medium + finish. Blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise (90 pts.) – $20

Recommended (86-89pts)

  • 2012 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé - California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Light red color with ripe cherry, floral and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and off-dry with medium acidity. It shows ripe cherry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. (88 pts.) - $18
  • 2012 Anaba Sonoma Valley - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley - Medium pink color with dark red fruit, spice and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s light-medium-bodied with Medium plus acidity. It shows tart cherry, red currant and spice flavors. Medium finish. Blend of 56% Grenache and 44% Syrah (87 pts.) - $22
  • 2011 Bella Grace - California, Sierra Foothills, Amador County
    Pink color with aromatic cherry, strawberry and a bit of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, off-dry and smooth with medium-acidity. It shows cherry, strawberry, spice and vanilla flavors. Medium-long finish. 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre (89 pts.) - $22
  • 2012 Broken Earth Diablo Rosado - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Medium pink color with aromatic cherry, raspberry, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s between between dry and off-dry for me with medium acidity, and delightfully intense strawberry, cherry, and spice flavors. Medium finish. Blend of 80% Syrah and 20% that was co-fermented (89 pts.) - $18
  • 2011 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Rosé - California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County - Deep pink color with cherry, and strawberry aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied, and dry with medium(-) acidity. It shows easy cherry, and strawberry flavors. Short medium finish. Nice value (86 pts.) - $12
  • 2012 David Girard Vineyards El Dorado - California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado - Light pink color with spiced cherry and raspberry aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied with medium(-) acidity. It shows strawberry, raspberry, mineral and a kiss of citrus flavors. Medium finish (86 pts.) – $22
  • 2012 Hagafen Rosé of Syrah Don Ernesto - California, Napa Valley
    Strawberry red color with earthy dark red fruits, and a hint of stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with medium(-) acidity. It shows dark cherry and red current flavors. Medium finish (87 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Halter Ranch Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedere Halter Ranch Vineyard – West Side - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Deep pink color with melon, red fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry with wonderful acidity. It shows cherry, melon, mineral and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Picpoul (89 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Holly’s Hill Grenache Rosé - California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County - Pink color with cherry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and dry with medium acidity. It shows cherry, pomegranate, and spice flavors. Medium finish. (87 pts.) – $18
  • 2012 Meyer Family Syrah - California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands
    Pinkish red color with faint cherry, and raspberry fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s dry, medium-bodied with medium(-) acidity. It shows raspberry, tart cherry, and orange rind flavors. Medium+ finish (86 pts.) – $18
  • 2010 Paradise View Rosé Soleil - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast - Pink color with strawberry, cherry, and melon aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry, and fresh with cherry, cantalouple, and watermelon flavors. Medium finish. (88 pts.) – $24
  • 2012 Peterson Vin Gris Donna Bella Bradford Mountain Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Vibrant light red color with raspberry, cherry, and a kiss of melon aromas . On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with raspberry, cherry, melon and spice flavors. Blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignane (88 pts.) – $16
  • 2012 Peterson Rosé Bradford Mountain Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley - Salmon pink color with wild strawberry, cherry and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied with strawberry, cherry, mineral flavors. Medium finish. Blend of Grenache, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. (88 pts.) – $21
  • 2012 Qupé Grenache Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Edna Valley - Light salmon pink color with strawberry, watermelon, mineral and a hint of stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s dry, fresh and medium-bodied with tart strawberry, cherry, watermelon and spice flavors. Medium+ finish. (88 pts.) – $22
  • 2012 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Slightly cloudy darkish pink color with slightly earthy, dark fruit, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and dry with an ample mouth feel. It shows vibrant black cherry, plum and spice flavors (unlabeled sample from bottle) Looking forward to the finished version! (89 pts.) - $18
  • 2012 Unti Vineyards Rosé - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    Pretty salmon pink color with raspberry, citrus peel and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry,fresh, and slightly tart with raspberry, watermelon, spice, and a kiss of citrus flavors. Long finish (89 pts.) – $22
  • 2010 Venteux Vineyards Mourvedre - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Light crimson color with earthy dark red fruit and anise aromas. On the palate, it between light and medium-bodied, dry with good acidity, and ripe strawberry, dark cherry, and spice flavors. Medium + finish. (88 pts.) – $28
  • 2012 Viña Robles Roseum Huerhuero - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Coral color with cherry, pomegranate, and a touch of brown sugar aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-full bodied with medium plus acidity, and a smooth mouth feel. It shows cherry, pomegrante and a kiss of spice aromas. Medium long finish. 100% Syrah (89 pts.) – $13
  • 2012 Zaca Mesa Z Gris - California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
    Light pink color with raspberry, tangerine, watermelon, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry and fresh with raspberry, melon, tangerine, and a bit of mineral flavors. Medium finish. (87 pts.) – $16

Other

  • 2012 Clos Saron Tickled Pink - California, Sierra Foothills
    Salmon pink color with faint red fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, and dry and tart with medium (-) acidity. It shows tart cherry. Short finish. Blend of 50% Syrah/50% Tempranillo (85 pts.) - $25
  • 2012 Pomar Junction Vineyard Syrah Rosé - California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Pink color with cherry and mineral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with medium acidity cherry, pomegrante, and spice flavors. Medium finish (85 pts.)$18

Taster’s Choice

After tasting through the 28 Rosés from the wineries listed event program guide, it was time for “Taster’s Choice”…Yup..it’s just what it should like.  I’m off “the clock”, and on to whatever I strikes my fancy.  After all this is gathering of the best Rhone wines America has to offer, and I wasn’t about to leave without tasting some white and red wines too!  I didn’t have as much time as I’d like, but the following wines stood out for me…

  • 2011 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc Saarloos Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley - Pale golden color with aromatic stone-fruit, mineral, and spiced honey aromas. On the palate, it’s approaching medium-bodied, crisp and dry with white peach, pear, mineral and a bit of citrus flavors. Medium-long finish. (91 pts.) – $24
Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting: Best of the Rhone Rosés

2009 Tercero Watch Hill Grenache

  • 2010 Lagier Meredith Syrah - California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Deep garnet color with lifted mixed black and blue fruits, pepper, and dried herb aromas. On the palate, it’s ample, fresh, well-balanced and elegant with blackberry, blueberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.(92 pts.) – $48
  • 2010 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles - Carmine color with black raspberry, plum, smoked meat, and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s ample with an intense supple mouthfeel. It shows black raspberry, plum, and a kiss of bittersweet chocolate flavors. Long finish. Blend of 45% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 4% Counoise (92 pts.) – $55
  • 2009 Tercero Grenache Watch Hill Vineyard - California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County - Garnet color with beautifully aromatic mixed berry, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium/full-bodied, fresh, focused with fruity, but not jammy, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and spice flavors. Long finish. (91 pts.)

You can’t come to an event like this and not have some food (albeit in my case, after, a few hours of wine tasting).  I had a little snacky-snack from The Girl and The Fig which was downright delicious, and left me envious of those who had a chance to partake of the dinner they served on Friday.

Note to self: Must go to The Girl and The Fig next time I’m in Sonoma!

The pièce de résistance on my Rhone Rangers experience was a couple of scoops of ice cream served up Three Twins Ice Cream.  One was Dad’s Cardamom, the other was Sea Salted Caramel…Daaaaaum it was all that! 

My takeaways from the event?

  • The state of the American Rhone Rosé is strong – more great choices than ever!
  • The prices seem to be creeping up on Rosé.  Though I prefer not to spend more than $20 for a Rose, I have from time to time for something I felt was special. But Rosé mostly falls into the “weeknight” category for me all year round. The median price for the Rosé I tasted was a tad over $20.
  • It was great to be able to purchase wines on the spot from some producers. In fact I ended up buying a couple of bottles of the Margerum Rosé.
  • The event seemed less crowded than last year, a good thing in my book, but if attendance was down, that’s a shame…

All in all, what a great event!  It’s circled in red on my calendar for next year!

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Wine of the Week; 2011 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare

The Winery

Bonny Doon Vineyard, located in Santa Cruz, CA was established in 1983 by the inimitable Randall Grahm, a man of many interests, not the least of which is “thinking of fiendishly cunning stratagems for producing wines which express a sense of place and which actually make the world a more interesting burg“. He’s an interesting man. In fact, as I write this, based on what I know of him from his bio, and blogs about Bonny Doon, and social media, the first thing that popped into my head is that he could be the real life “Most Interesting Man in the World” (This from his Twitter profile – “Founder, Winemaker, Terroirist/Vinachrist and Prez-for Life @BonnyDoonVineyd, Defender of the Misunderstood and Underappreciated Doon-trodden Cépages of the Earth” - peep the bio here).  The wines Bonny Doon produces are a reflection of Grahm – they’re thoughtful, eclectic, often unique, and interesting wines. )  Sure, the packaging is clever with inventive names, and beautiful art work.  But don’t let the slick marketing fool you (Hell, I enjoy looking at the website because it’s just plain fun to read the marketing spiel) into thinking the wines don’t live up to the hype. The wines are seriously good.

My first visit to Bonny Doon was a couple of years ago. I’m a Rose fiend,and I’d heard good things about Bonny Doon’s. On top of that I’d read good reviews of the co-located restaurant (at the time – the Cellar Door – since April this year re-branded as Le Cigare Volant, same as their signature Syrah)  We had a fantastic meal there, and while we went for the 2010 vintage of this wine, we actually preferred their other Rosé the 2009 A Supposedly Clever…Rosé – a puncheon fermented in 100% new wood.  Um…last time saw a Rose produced that was never!  It turned out to be a happy (and quite tasty) accident.

We returned about couple of months ago to eat at the restaurant and do some tasting.  I’m glad we diid…I was saddened to learn according to the restaurant would cease operations on December 31!  The restaurant has straight up novel and delicious fare. (see pics below)…I definitely recommend.  Try to get there before year-end!

We had a wonderful meal, and a great tasting (picked up this wine and few others) even had a chance to see Grahm (he was there our last visit too…the man puts in work).

The Wine

Yes…it’s the middle of December, and I’m drinking the quintessential summer wine – Rose.  Having flashbacks to the long warms days of summer? Nah, (OK..maybe just a little) I just know that Rosé is one of the most food friendly wines one can drink. So I buy a couple of cases of the stuff every year and drink it all year-round (in fact, a Rose was the best wine I with my Thanksgiving meal this year)

This Rose is a bit different from most because it’s not made exclusively from red wine grape varieties.  Bonny Doon adds two white grape varieties - Roussanne and Grenache Blanc – to what would otherwise be typical Southern Rhone red varieties. According to Bonny Doon..

 …we find the addition of mineral-rich white wine adds incremental gravitas without creating ponderousness–a mortally dangerous element in a perfect apéritif wine.

They also employed the practice of bâtonnage–an Old World technique of the stirring or re-suspension of lees after fermentation–to add creaminess to the texture of the wine.

Boony Doon  Vin Gris de Cigare

2011 Boony Doon Vineyards Vin Gris de Cigare

My tasting notes follow:

Pretty salmon pink color with citrus, red fruit, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied and fruity with good balance and acidity followed by cherry, strawberry, and citrus flavors. Medium-long finish. 

Rating: Highly Recommended…This one goes on my buy every year list when I stock up on Rosé!

Pair with: I paired with Crockpot ChickenSpaghetti because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with a red or white wine. I had a feeling this wine would be a wonderful match and…SCORE!  This is a food friendly wine that will pair well with a variety of cuisines (It will be a great wine for upcoming Holiday meals) including charcuterie, many popular Mexican, Indo-Paki, Thai, Vietnamese dishes, along with a variety of salads, poultry and seafood. 

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.3% alcohol.
  • Closure: Screwcap
  • AVA: > California>Central Coast
  • Grape Varieties: 73% Grenache, 10% Mourvédre, 8% Grenache Blanc, 5% Roussanne, 4% Cinsault
  • Cooperage:
  • Retail: $16
  • Cases produced: 5,400
  • Drink: now – 2014
  • >>Find this wine<<

This above wine was purchased for review

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Value Alert! – Outstanding Spanish Wine For $11!

From time to time I come across a wine with a surprisingly good quality/price ratio (‘QPR”).  The 2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas , a Spanish wine from the Yecla D.O., is such a wine.  I purchased this bottle from my favorite wine store, K&L Wine Merchants.

Not familiar with the Yecla region of Spain?  Join the club, neither was I! What I do know about Spain is that it consistently offers great value in its wines.  Whenever I look for great QPR wine, I alway start with Spanish wine!  And whenever, I find one as good as this one, and consider what it cost, I inevitably ask myself why I’m not drinking more Spanish wine! It’s a country whose wines I intend to explore more…

Yecla is a small DO ( Denominación de Origen) near the town of Yecla in the northernmost corner of the region of Murcia, not far from Spain’s east coast.  The vast majority  of vineyards are planted to Monastrell (Mourvèdre, Mataro),  Other permitted red varieties are  Garnacha TintaGarnacha TintoreraTempranilloMerlotCabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Permitted white varieties include AirenMersegueraMacabeoMalvasia and Chardonnay.  The inclusion of grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay tells me the region produces wines that are well-suited to the American palate.

The region is made up of a single district, but the local wine community divides the area into two – Yecla Campo Arriba, and  Yecla Campo Abajo.  Yecla Campo Arriba  is considered superior because  of its old vines.  Yecla was granted DO status in 1975.

Bodegas Castaño is a family run private winery that has had a winemaking presence in the region for generations.  They own about 400 hectares (approximately 10% of the DO) in four prime locations.

This wine has an excellent track record.  Previous vintages  (2001-2006) were all scored 90+ point and considered best values by the Wine Advocate and the International Wine Cellar.

2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas

2007 Bodegas Castaño Yecla Solanera Viñas Viejas – Great QPR!

Here’s what the producer says about the wine…

“This special limited production wine is an example  of the high quality potential of the emerging Yecla region in Southern Spain.  Solanera is produced from the oldest vines of the indigenous Monastrell, along with low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tintorera which is aged in oak for 10 months..This wine is a custom blend for Eric Solomon and is bottled unfiltered and unfined.”

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color with sweet tobacco, cedarwood, sweet dark fruits, and hint of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with supple tannins, and surprisingly fresh acidity with dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and a bit of cassis flavors. Long finish. 

 

Here’s the wine geek stuff:

Where it’s from: SpainMurciaYecla

The grapes: 65%  Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvedre), 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Garnacha Tintorera (a.k.a. Alicante Bouschet),

Aging: Ten months in 10 months in oak; French (70%) and American oak (30%)

Age of vineyards: 40+ year old vineyards from Campo Arriba

Cost: $11

Alcohol: 14.5%

Closure: Cork

Recommendation: This is going to be a repeat purchase for me!  I highly recommend! To find this wine click here

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Wine of the Week: 2007 Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines Cognito

My Wine Of The Week for September 20-October 5 is the 2007 Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines Cognito.

The Winery

Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines is an eponymous artisan winery producing small lots of  Rhone varietal wines, from their 30-acre vineyard in Paso Robles. Ed, who is an entrepreneur, sailor, and pilot, and his wife “discovered” Paso Robles in 2003, and instantly fell in love with the place.

I was introduced to Edward Sellers in 2010 when I attended the annual California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara.  Ed was pouring his wines at the Friday night “Sunset Rare And Reserve Wine Tasting”. I distinctly remember his wines standing head and shoulders above the rest that evening.  We made it a point to drop in his tasting room, which at the time was in downtown Paso, on our way back to the Bay Area.  That’s when I purchased a couple of bottles of this wine (and a few others).   Last year, after attending the same wine festival, again we made it a point to drop in at his tasting room off  West Highway 46.

Paso Robles has made a name for itself, especially for Rhône varietals.   According to edwardsellers.com:

It is Paso Robles’s climate, soils and vineyard diversity that makes Paso Robles ideally suited for growing the Rhône varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc.

The Wine

This is wine a blend of

 

2007 Edward Sellers Cognito

 

My tasting note follow:

Nearly opaque violet color with aromatic briary, liquered mixed berry and white pepper aromas. On palate, it’s full-bodied, fruity, intense, with a smooth mouthfeel, good acidity and ripe mixed berry, black cherry, black currant flavors. Med long finish. 40% Mourvèdre/25% Zinfandel/19% Syrah/16% Grenache. 14.3% alcohol. Production 640 cases

 

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 14.6% alcohol.

Closure: Cork.

AVA: > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles

Varietal(s): 40% Mourvèdre, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Syrah, 15% Grenache

Cooperage: 18 months in 100% Neutral French Oak

Retail: $30

Cases produced: 640

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Wine Of The Week: 2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for June 30-July 6 is the 2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block.

Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera RanchRossi Ranch VineyardSaitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society .

Wine

This wine is has a bit of a reputation that precedes it.  The 2007 vintage made the cover of Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2009 – it was #17.  The 2009 vintage of this wine wasn’t produced (because there wasn’t enough fruit due to a late season deluge.  Fortunately, 2010 was a better vintage. Two-thirds of the grapes  were destemmed, with the balance left as whole clusters.  Fermentation was conducted using the native yeasts found naturally growing on the grapes.  It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. It was released April 2012.

My tasting notes follow:

Inky violet color with aromatic aromas of tobacco, spice, and dark fruits. On the palate it’s focused, balanced, and smooth with cassis, plum, blackberry, spice and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors. Long finish…an excellent wine!  - 92pts 

Highly Recommended!  Carlisle wines are sold directly to mailing list members.  According to their website, the mailing list is currently closed. However check here to find this wine.

Details:

Alcohol: 15.5% alcohol.

Closure: Cork closure.

AVACaliforniaSonoma CountyRussian River Valley

Varietal(s): 95%Syrah, 4%Mourvèdre, 1%Viognier

Oak: French oak; 26% new

Retail: $45

Cases produced: 410

This wine is from my cellar

Cheers!

Wine Of The Week – 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rosé

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for June 9-June 15 is the 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rose

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in  1960.

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

This isn’t the first Ridge that is my WoW (and I’m sure not the last either;-) In case you missed it, I previously featured the 2009 Ridge Buchignani Ranch Carignane in this post

The Wine

This wine is an alluring blend of Zinfandel,  Mataro (a.k.a. Mourvèdre), Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Carignane from the Ridge Lytton Estate Vineyard – the same vineyard source of the iconic Lytton Springs Zinfandel blend.  The lion’s share of the vineyard was planted in 1901, and 1910.  The vineyard is registered with the Historical Vineyard Society (click here for details).  According to their website:

This vineyard used to be part of the estate of Captain William Litton, who during the last half of the 19thcentury developed the springs in the area and built a hotel and spa for San Franciscans who arrived by train to “take the waters.”  Paul Draper saw these old vines in 1972 and made the first Lytton Springs bottling that year.

I enjoyed this wine with a Mediterranean Couscous Salad topped with Feta cheese.  It was a great pairing!

Summertime in a glass – 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Light-red pink color with a distinctive lovely orange hue with cherry, citrus and watermelon aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied, and is dry, and well-structured. It shows a zippy acidity with vibrant fruit flavors of cherry, watermelon along with hints of citrus and spice. An outstanding Rose. Medium finish.- 90pts

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.  From time to time, a wine induce one to savor its flavors and/or aromas long the bottle has been finished.  This was one of those wines for me!

Details:

Alcohol: 12.9% alcohol.

Closure: Cork closure.

AVA: Dry Creek Valley.

Varietal(s): 48% Zinfandel, 36% Mataro, 7% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache, 4% Carignane.

Production: 3 Barrels produced

Media Sample

Wine of the Week – 2011 Bedrock Wine Co Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for June 2-June 8 is the 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé

The Winery

I previously did a post on the winery entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together back in January, wherein I focused on the sources of Bedrock’s grapes.   Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker/owner of Bedrock.  You can check out his full bio here, but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug”.  Here’s what the “About” section of the Bedrock website says about the winery…

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

In terms of the wine making process itself at Bedrock, it’s surprisingly Ole Skool (or as Morgan might put it “Cro-magnum”).  Grapes are pitch-forked into a small Zambelli destemmer, the punch-downs are manual, after fermentation the wines are basket pressed in an Italian press that is manually operated.   It’s a very manual and time-consuming process, but I can vouch for the results.  Peterson is making some spectacular wines!

The Wine

The wine is a blend of 91% Mourvedre sourced from the Bedrock, and Pagani RanchVineyards, along with 9% Grenache from the Annadel Vineyard. 

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode To Lulu Rosé


My tasting notes follow:

Lovely eye of the partridge color with stone fruit, melon, and mineral aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, and nicely balanced with a wonderful crisp acidity, and white nectarine, melon, mineral, and a touch of strawberry flavors. Medium-long finish. 60% Mourvedre from Bedrock Vineyard planted in 1888! 31% Mourvedre from Pagani Ranch planted in 1922, and 9% Grenache from Annadel Vineyard. Whole cluster pressed. Fermented with native yeast.


Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Details:  12.3% alcohol.  Screwcap clousure.  AVA: Sonoma Valley. Varietal(s): 91% Mourvedre, 9% Grenache. Suggested Retail – $18 USD